I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.One summer 70 s evening, five boys discover a box in the woods To cement their friendship, the friends decide to make sacrifices to the box by giving up something meaningful to place inside, with the threat that if one of them opens the box, terrible things will happen.1982, and the friends have drifted apart Until terrible, wicked things start to happen Someone has broken the pact and opened the box.On reading the blurb for this, I immediately drew comparisons with IT, The Goonies and Stand By Me which unfortunately does not help the novel There s nothing new here, except a large portion of animal cruelty I believe the novel is aimed at young adults and children yet I found some of these violent scenes quite graphic in nature, and uncomfortable to read about They didn t seem to fit with the target audience at all.The characters, when comparing to these classic 80 s films and novels, are also rather underdeveloped We never spent enough time with one character with the possible exception of Sep to really understand their nature and get to know them It s also hard to understand how any of these children were even friends There s no emotional connection between them at all except for their link to the box This is proven by the fact that they ve drifted apart by the time 1982 comes around.The plot also suffers, as the author tries to pull the reader in several directions at once, not allowing you to concentrate on one plot development at a time This makes the story convoluted and confusing at times as I was constantly trying to remember what everyone was doing at any given time There was too much going on at once.Disappointing. 2.5 stars Lots of fun 80s vibes and a bit of creepy stuff, but lacking in the charactersNever come to the box alone.Never open it after dark.Never take back your sacrifice Soooo, I kind of forgot I hadn t reviewed this one yet Whoops Let s fix that.Riding the unstoppable train of nostalgia and creepy charm that is Stranger Things, Martin Stewart s sopho novel, The Sacrifice Box unfortunately fails to stand out from the crowd The pacing was alright, it s an easy enough read But I m afraid that s one of the few things it has going for it And there was so much potential to explore the frailty of friendship, blood sacrifice, trust, growing up But the story barely dipped a toe into that pool.I think the two main factors keeping this from succeeding were the scare factor and the characters At times the scares feel too light, almost on the bottom of the YA or the top of middle grade With a few tweaks, I think this would have much success as a novel for the 8 to 12ish crowd I found the stuff with the crows decently spooky, but I am terrified of birds So that s an easy win But, I mean, a possessed teddy bear yes seriously, a possessed teddy bear is hard to make truly scary Scratch that, it s impossible to make scary.Also with how juvenile everything else seemed, the gore factor seemed out of proportion There were quite a few mutilated animal corpses For a book that reads younger, it went heavy on the blood.It s also very jumpy The transitions between scenes were sometimes abrupt and confusing And the exposition could be about as subtle as James Bond s flirting game.Then there s the character stuff Sep, the main protagonist, is the only one given a hint of depth Everyone is just forgettable Some of the best known classics set in the 80s IT, Stranger Things, Stand by Me, The Goonies, have stood the test of time because the friendship between the young characters is powerfully woven Here, the friendship doesn t get much beyond the words on the page.Which of course, it s impossible to build a convincing story of friendship between five friends when each individual character feels like nothing than a few basic character points, checked off of a checklist.Overall, I can t say The Sacrifice Box is a good book I ve read worse, much much worse, but unfortunately this one fails to shine With inconsistent scares and barely developed characters, all the great plot potential has nowhere to go.Also, the whole evil teddy bear thing didn t help anything Thanks to Edelweiss and Viking Books for the DRC DISCLAIMER The Sacrifice Box probably doesn t even deserve the enjoyment it got from me Objectively , it s not a good book It s pretty bad actually Subjectively, I had a ton of fun and it was just what I needed, right now If you are reading this review, you have caught me in a moment of weakness I ve had a really rough week maybe like weeks , and I was in desperate need of a little guilty pleasure Some people grab a horribly cheesy rom com, some O.D on chocolate and wine, I indulge in some horror More specifically bad horror Youtuber Chris Stuckman check him out if you enjoy film reviews has coined a term that is perfect for those type of horror movies hilariocity Something that is such an atrocity that it becomes hilarious The Sacrifice Box comes dangerously close to that territoryI said it in an update after 100 pages it reads like a B horror movie in bookform The further I got into the book, the I saw the resemblances We will get to those similarities in a second don t worry The book actually starts off with the potential to be a good thriller Read the synopsis and you know what I mean This first segment has some great eighties horror vibes and has the potential to be a pretty decent thriller Then around the same 100 page mark though, the novel completely derails and enters a realm of paranormal absurdity and eighties horror tropes At this point it basically asks you to either get off the train, or just roll with it If you roll with it, you are in for a treat Seriously, if you don t plan on reading this at all, I encourage you to click that spoiler button, just to see how hilarious this gets view spoiler There are zombie reanimated animals and killer toys THERE S A KILLER TEDDYBEAR I m actually laughing my ass off hide spoiler One of the great things I loved about this book was the setting It s set in 1986 and the lead characters are just 1 year older than me at the time It brings about such great memories of bad hair, outlandish dress sense and some fabulous music I d give it all the stars just for setting alone.Four years previously the gang, after a wonderful summer each made a sacrifice to a stone box they find in the woods do these things ever end well As you can imagine this comes back to haunt them as, now estranged as friends, one of them opens the box in a fit of loneliness wanting to get the gang back together It has disastrous consequences.Turns out back during WW2 another set of youths did the same thing Opening up the box in 1986 sets the monstrous sacrifices free to murder.As mentioned, I loved the setting of 1986 I also liked it being set on a small island Arran possibly based on the blurb at the back So often thrillers are based in big cities but I felt the smaller setting worked to increase the sense of fear and horror and make the book even tense.The bulk of the book is set over just a few days so the pace is fast, it s a real page turner.I loved all the little headings, I loved the characters The main 5 all reminded me of 80 s films your Stand By Me s and your Goonie s and again it harks back to my own school days I could probably give each of the characters names from my own childhood So for me very relatable.It s dark, it s edgy, there s horror and humour Basically it has everything Did I mention I loved it Free arc from netgalley Sep, Arkle, Mack, Lamb And Hadley Five Friends Thrown Together One Hot, Sultry Summer When They Discover An Ancient Stone Box Hidden In The Forest, They Decide To Each Make A Sacrifice Something Special To Them, Committed To The Box For Ever And They Make A Pact They Will Never Return To The Box At Night They Ll Never Visit It Alone And They Ll Never Take Back Their OfferingsFour Years Later, The Gang Have Drifted Apart Then A Series Of Strange And Terrifying Events Take Place, And Sep And His Friends Understand That One Of Them Has Broken The PactAs Their Sacrifices Haunt Them With Increased Violence And Hunger, They Realise That They Are Not The First Children To Have Found The Box In Their Town S History And Ultimately, The Box May Want The Greatest Sacrifice Of All One Of Them DNF at 34%I loved this synopsis and the cover and was so eager to get to this This cast of characters is fairly large and I couldn t connect to any of them, especially with the jumping around in POVs I don t know if it was the formatting on my e arc, but everything felt choppy and underdeveloped Plot wise, it was slow I know I didn t give it too much, but I expect something compelling to have happened when I m a third of the way into a story There was nothing captivating me I did skip to the end and read the last two chapters, but it wasn t enough to get me to want to continue I m not going to rate it because I know several people who loved it and I trust their opinion Perhaps it would have gotten better for me However, I also take note of the multiple reviews that mention gratuitous animal abuse and mutilation and I don t want to read any part of that Huge thanks to Viking Books for Young Readers for providing the arc free of charge The synopsis for this one sounded so dark and brilliant even as YA that I was really looking forward to it I read it fast, it is an easy read in that sense, but honestly it missed the mark for me on quite a few levels.That is not to say that it is not entertaining It is in many ways but for me as a bang through kind of thing rather than feeling any depth or substance Having said that descriptively speaking this author has a certain something that has made me want to read his next book I think the problem here was lack of character levels.With the exception of Sep I didn t really feel I got to know the gang with enough engagement to make me care what was happening His need to leave the island and the 80 s setting were probably the strongest parts of The Sacrifice Box for me the wider horror story just feeding into his personality enough to keep me reading.The premise is sound but the execution is a little wishy washy While I think the target market will probably love it, this was not one of those young adult novels that spoke to me on a higher level Fast, with a certain fun element but nothing stand out. Please tell me I m not the only one who didn t expect a horror novel after reading that synopsis I normally don t read horror books, it s not at all my genre, but I did enjoy reading this one surprisingly The story is about Sep whose name is actually September , he s lonely, has no friends and wants to move from the island he lives to the mainland to go to school there and become an engineer The story is set in the 1980 s but there are flashbacks to what happened before the main storyline They spoke the words the rules of the sacrifice Never come to the box alone, they said, hands unmoving Never open it after dark, they said, fingers joined together Never take back your sacrifice, they finished then let go What I really liked about this book was the dark, gruesome and very atmospheric writing It was so well written and vivid I loved that it gave the story atmosphere It wasn t really scary, but I m not sure it is supposed to be like I said, I don t normally read horror , but it was engrossing and made me keep reading I was really invested in how it was going to end and whether it all was going get a happy ending or not A thing that annoyed me, which was not really anything that was wrong, was how there were so many nicknames used in the story All the teens in the group of main characters use both their real name, last name and nicknames and it was so confusing I couldn t tell them apart and that really annoyed me because that way all the character depth and development was lost to me At one point there was someone named Daniels and for the sake of me, I do not know who the hell this character was.Yesterday he d woken up with his world in order his mum was well, his exams were over, his boarding school application was nearly complete No obstacles Everything he d work for.And now what His mum was getting sick again.He was bunking off school with the others.And his teddy bear was trying to kill him.As a sidenote, I was scrolling through some reviews on goodreads and some mentioned that the book was too gruesome for the YA age range and all of those reviews were written by adults judging by profile pictures I am no teen myself, but as a 21 year old, I think it s fair to say I think teens and young adults are used to gore than they these adults think Anyway, if you cannot stand reading about blood, killing of animals or gore, this might not be for you We re all little miracles, she said, everything about us all our stupid habits and our jokes and our weird faces, on a spinning ball that s a perfect distance from the sun And now here we are, you and me, sitting on top of a million years of history I am giving this book 3.5 4 stars because despite that it was completely not as I expected it to be, I really enjoyed the book The characters were a bit lost to me, but that might just be my quirk I think you would really like this if you love Stranger Things and horror movies or books I didn t love this book but it was really entertaining to read and it had a really enjoyable storyline. Very weak book, no understandable plot and no profound minor characters Recommend it for a very light reading.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Sacrifice Box book, this is one of the most wanted Martin Stewart author readers around the world.
- 368 pages
- The Sacrifice Box
- Martin Stewart
- 10 August 2018 Martin Stewart